Fate7 mins 350 7 mins 350
This is a story about a winsome, cheerful boy named Bhola. Since the day he was born, Bhola had known poverty and misery. Having lost his father, the only breadwinner in his house, at a tender age of 10, his world had sunk into eternal darkness. His life was a constant struggle to arrange his next meal. Bhola's mother, Shikha, was an illiterate yet spectacularly beautiful woman who supported her family by working as a helper in different houses. However, her wages were not enough to support the two of them. She lost her temper quickly and very often, Bhola had to bear the brunt of her frustrations.
Bhola missed his father dearly. He dreamt about his childhood and "better days" with tears in his eyes. But fate had something else in store for him. One day when he was lost in a similar reverie, he found his mother fussing in the house, packing all of their stuff. "What's the matter? Where are we going?", Bhola asked in a small voice. "Do me a favour and keep your mouth shut for a while, will you? Pack your stuff. I don't have time to entertain your stupid questions!” shouted an agitated Shikha and with that, Bhola drifted to his room and did as he was told.
In a couple of hours, he found himself in a crowded bazaar flooded with restless customers. Shikha was clutching his hand so tightly that his palm was sweating. Shikha and Bhola pushed through the crowd and stopped beside a tea-stall. A tall, dark man approached them and without even introducing himself, started talking to his mother. “Who is this kid? You said you didn’t have any children,” the man hissed in a slow yet menacing voice. “He is not mine. And don’t talk to me like that! He is my neighbours’ kid. They disappeared out of the blue three months ago and have been untraceable since. Bhola has been living with me since then,” Shikha retorted. At hearing this, Bhola became utterly perplexed. Why was his mother lying to this stranger? He opened his mouth to object but before he could utter any word, the stranger said “Alright, darling. Don’t worry. We can keep him with us until his parents return. All I care about is you.” And with this he held Shikha’s hand and walked her towards a blue car. Bhola followed them hesitantly, too scared and confused to say anything.
After what felt like a lifetime, the car came to a halt outside a tall building. “Bring the bags with you, Bhola. Shikha needs some rest,” said the stranger. “And I think we haven’t met yet. My name is a Ravi and you will be staying with Shikha and me till we find your parents. I hope you will be comfortable in your new home,” said Ravi as he offered his hand for a handshake. Bhola took it and managed a weak smile. Nobody had talked to him so politely since his father died. But still he had suspicions about this man who treated him and his mother so affectionately. Ravi nodded and then strode towards the elevator. Bhola hastily picked up the bag and followed him.
Bhola had accompanied her mother to a similar house before. Because Shikha had no one to take care of Bhola when she went to work, she usually took him with her. But not even in his wildest dreams Bhola had fathomed that he would get to live in one such house! He had his own bedroom and a bed that didn’t reek of urine and oil! Ravi was nice to him too. Ravi showed Bhola his room. Bhola was delighted beyond measure. He shut the door to his room. And as soon as his hips touched the mattress, the door creaked open and his mother crept inside. She locked the door and glowered at his son. “Enjoying the fruits of my labour, aren’t you? You filthy, little rag! Don’t! Don’t utter any word and listen carefully if you don’t want to be in any trouble,” she whispered scathingly to Bhola. “As long as you are here, you will call me “sister”. You will say that your parents left you and I gave your roof and food. Under no circumstances, you will tell anyone that I am your mother. You got it?” Bhola nodded meekly. “Good. If I see you talking to anyone, I will cut that tongue of yours and feed it to the cats. Now go to sleep!” She gave him another dirty look and left the room as quietly as she came.
Over the course of the next few days, Bhola learned a lot about his new life. He learned that Ravi was a rich owner of a factory that manufactured bags and clothes. He owned two cars and spent his weekends taking Shikha to exotic restaurants. Bhola was surprised to see the change in his own mood. Yes, his mother didn’t even bother to look at him now, but he was happier than he had ever been in his whole life. Ravi was polite and nice. He got to eat delicious meals and played with interesting toys. One night as he was making his bed, he felt a pair of cold hands grabbing him from behind and within seconds he lay unconscious on his bed. “Alright, now pack his body inside this back and leave him in the village on the outskirts of the city. Make sure no one sees you carrying it. I have made holes in it so that he can breathe. Now go. And remember our deal. If you utter any word about this to Ravi or anyone else, you will be sorry. Now leave before Ravi comes back,” said a frightened Shikha.
Bhola found himself helpless. He couldn’t comprehend how all this had happened. Yesterday, he was there in his or well, Ravi’s house sleeping and now he found himself cornered by curious villagers who were gawking at him as if he were an alien. What would have happened to him if that old man had not found him in this bag? Who did this to him? His head was whirring with anxiety and in all this fuss, he started crying. The same old man who had discovered Bhola consoled him and the police officers came to question him. He was so afraid that he couldn’t stutter a word. Even the police officers lost their patience with him. All he wanted to do was go back to his house, but he didn’t know the address! He described the building but that was of no help to the officers.
“Are you sure they were his parents? I mean, they were disappeared for 3 months and then suddenly showed at my doorstep? They could be frauds too,” said Ravi for the umpteenth time. “I know what my neighbours look like, Ravi! Besides, they are strange. I lived with them for years. Don’t worry! Bhola was happy to see them,” said Shikha. The bell rang. “Who is here at this odd time?” wondered Shikha. Ravi went to open the door and was flummoxed to find Bhola with two police officers. “Bhola! Are you fine? What happened officer? Did his parents left him again?” asked Ravi in a confused tone. “Is this bag yours, sir?” inquired one of the officers. “Yes, why?” asked Ravi. “We found this boy in this bag on a roadside in a village. He was lucky that an old man found him. We saw the tag on the bag and traced your address. You are the owner of this company that manufactures this bag, right?” went on the officer.
Ravi nodded but he looked quizzically at Shikha. She was shivering with fright.
The police arrested Shikha and the house-servant. “You will have to find a defense lawyer, Mr. Ravi,” said the officer. “Don’t worry, officer. I don’t want that woman in my house ever again. And until I apply for taking Bhola’s guardianship, can he stay here?” pleaded Ravi. “Yes, of course Mr. Ravi. But you will have to come and complete the formalities.” “Sure, sir. Bhola, I will be right back. Stay here, ok?” And that’s how Bhola came to have a new dad.